I have friends, colleagues and family members in the U.S., who ask me still – so, aren’t you glad to be back?
It’s been almost six months and they still ask the question!
Then, there’s the assumptive – you must be so glad to be back!
Mostly, I would guess, because so few of them would have wanted that experience that I had of living in India after years in America and they wonder how I did it.
I’m quite used to it now, this question. I’ve got the answer down pat too.
I roll my eyes and say, of course. It’s great to be back at home!
I mean it too.
But to leave it at that is an incomplete answer. The rest of it is, I’m glad to be back but I was also very fortunate to have had that experience in India.
I mean this too but I wonder if they believe me.
This last trip back to Mumbai was 95% work related. But I also got to spend a few hours of free time before and after the work week with some of my dear friends there.
I visited my old neighborhood where they still live. I remember well those much awaited, well planned Sundays there.
During the visit, something that smells awfully close to nostalgia surfaces and sets in as I cannot help but relive the good times. It’s the mind’s propensity to remember positives over negatives, that’s what it is.
“Do you remember when…?”
Those Sundays, for example. Numerous Suryanamaskars (oh, yoga!) in the morning and at eleven o’clock sharp we were ready and waiting to watch the next episode of Satyamev Jayate. Ready and comfortable with a sangria/mojito/margarita in hand, accompanied by hot pakoras and spicy peanuts.
We were ready to get immersed as Aamir laid out the pressing issue of the day. Ready to absorb, debate and applaud. Wonderful moments those, and it’s nice reflecting on them.
So, yes, of course I’m glad to be back at home.
But that does not take away from the fact that something about living as an expat in my native country for a couple of years struck a chord and touched me deeply somewhere.
Every trip back therefore has its inescapable yin and yang moments. There are those that go this is India, what do you expect?. Mixed in with them are the nostalgic ones as I once again count myself lucky to have had a short but memorable ‘India experience’.